One of the more exciting aspects of the modern music gear market is the rise of boutique manufacturers, companies that are not afraid to experiment with their creations and think outside the box. With that in mind, I'd like to shine a light on one of my personal favorite boutique manufacturers that I feel don't get as much love as they deserve: Tom Anderson Guitar Works. While they are predominantly known for their killer guitars, they also manufacturer a series of great high-quality pickups that feature an attention to detail that easily rivals the best brands around. Below, are three of my favorite pickup series from Tom Anderson.
SA Series Strat Sized Single-Coils
The Tom Anderson SA Series is one of their most popular pickup offerings, combining vintage style tones that should please plenty of single-coil fans. They pair especially well with hollow-body and swamp ash wood guitars in particular. With an increased, thick midrange that maintains excellent articulation and note to note clarity, the SA series is tailor made for player’s searching for quality single-coil tones.
Starting with the most requested model from the SA series, the SA-1 is a medium output single-coil that sounds true to its vintage roots while maintaining a highly defined tone. When placed in either the neck or middle position on my Vintage American Strat, the SA-1 was absolutely singing! For something similar but with a bit more bite, the SA-2 model offers increased power and fullness while the SA-2+ kicks things up a notch further still, making it a great choice for overdrive and distortion. All three models are also available in reverse-wound configurations, allowing you to pair them with regular SA models for hum-cancelling capabilities.
TF Series Tele Sized Single-Coils
Like the SA series above, these T-sized pickups were engineered with hum canceling in mind while retaining all of the vintage single-coil tones players love. Featuring rich, full-bodied tonal colors that are emphasized by lush, sweet highs, these pickups sound smooth yet clear and are excellent replacements for any Telecaster or T-styled electric. For a classic, vintage take on single-coil tones, the TF1 neck and TF2 bridge are the perfect combo. If you'd like a little more bite in the bridge, the TF3 is a hotter, sweeter version of the TF2. Our resident Telecaster aficionado recently upgraded his personal ax with the T1/T3 set and hasn't stopped raving about them. Personally, I prefer to stay as true as I can to the classics when it comes to single-coils but I can't deny his Tele sounded amazing, especially with a touch of tube distortion.
H Series Humbuckers
If humbuckers are more your style, the H Series features a fair number of high-quality pickups that range from mild to extremely hot, with plenty of full and open tones that pair well with high gain effects and tube amp distortion. Featuring exceptionally smooth tones when overdriven along with plenty of top end clarity and none of the harsh fuzz, these are top quality humbuckers through and through.
Beginning with the H1, this pickup is best suited for players that want a vintage character to their humbucker sound. You can hear the H1 in action on Elliot Easton’s (of The Cars) "Tonight She Comes". If you’re looking for a little more clarity, the H1- is your answer. In fact, the H1- is easily one of my favorite neck-position humbuckers. If higher-output is more integral to your sound, you have plenty of choices, ranging from the slightly hotter H1+ to the full powered H3+ or anything in between. And for those of you out there who can’t stop customizing their ax, you’ll be happy to know that every H series humbucker features a 4 conductor shielded cable to deliver you the all-out in wiring versatility.
If you're more of a vintage humbucker type of player, I recommend you take a closer look at the HC series; mild to hot output vintage-flavored humbuckers with a tight, focused mid-range and surprisingly musical highs. Plus, they come in sleek looking covers for some added style points!
These are just a few of the amazing pickups offered by Tom Anderson Pickups. If the series mentioned above aren't your cup of tea, you should definitely check out the rest of our selection. And if you have any questions regarding the purchase of the pickups above or any other piece of gear, don't hesitate to ask one of our PAL pros by using the dialogue box below!
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